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An exhausted French Legionnaire is caught in the brutal Algerian desert storm, his fate in the balance.

The Simoon – the violent, hot wind that blows in the North African desert – gives its name to August Strindberg’s psychological drama, published in 1889 and later described by the Glaswegian composer Erik Chisholm as ‘exciting and frightening’.

Chisholm’s adaptation evokes the desert setting, a musical blend of the Hindustani scales he had studied in wartime India and a skilful use of free twelve-tone technique, but it was never performed with orchestra in his own lifetime. Written in 1952 as part of a triptych of one-act operas, Simoon was first performed with piano accompaniment in New York in 1954.

This world premiere of the full orchestral score was given in Glasgow as part of the Cottier Chamber Project 2015 on June 8th 2015, in a semi-staged production commissioned by The Erik Chisholm Trust ( with film by Roddy Simpson and performed by Music Co-OPERAtive Scotland (McOpera).

Watch and listen to Simoon, courtesy of Delphian Records Ltd from the live recording taken at Glasgow’s historic Western Baths.


  • Actor Michael Daviot on location at Tyninghame beach, East Lothian - photo Roddy Simpson
  • Charlie Drummond in rehearsal - photo Sean Purser
  • Conductor Ian Ryan in rehearsal - photo Sean Purser
  • Dancers Salma Faraji and Erick Mauricia in rehearsal - photo Sue Baxendale
  • Damian Thantry with Michael Daviot and Salma Faraji on the big screen at Glasgow Baths - photo Sean Purser
  • Dancers Salma Faraji and Erick Mauricia in rehearsal - photo Sue Baxendale
  • Damian Thantry in rehearsal - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Skull & Score - photo Sue Baxendale
  • Ian Ryan - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Michael Daviot on the big screen at Glasgow Baths - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Jane Irwin in rehearsal - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Philip Sheffield perusing the score - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Filming on location in Edinburgh - photo Sue Baxendale
  • John Purser and intern Rachel Holton on set - photo Sean Purser
  • Dancer Salma Faraji and actor Michael Daviot on set - photo Sue Baxendale
  • Actor Michael Daviot on set - photo Sue Baxendale
  • Dancer Salma Faraji on set - photo Sue Baxendale


  • Angus Ramsay, 2nd violin - photo Sean Purser
  • Cellist Aline Gow - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Justine Watts - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Laura Baxter on celeste - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Lawrence Gill, clarinet - photo Sean Purser
  • Cellists Sarah Harrington and Marie Connell - photo Juduth Fieldhouse
  • McOpera Brass -Sue Baxendale, Simon Bird and Alan Pash - photo Mikah Smillie
  • McOpera 2nd violins Justine Watts, Terez Korondi, Angus Ramsay, Kirsty Orton with piccolo Yvonne Robertson - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • McOpera Trumpet player Simon Bird - photo Mikah Smillie
  • McOpera Winds with Janet Bloxwich (bassoon) - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Oboe Kirsty Logan - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Percussionist Jo McDowell - photo Sean Purser
  • Pete Fry on Double Bass - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Pianists Lliam Paterson & Lynda Cochrane - photo Sean Purser
  • Rosie the Harmonium, with Derek Clark - photo Sean Purser
  • The Basses! Peter Fry and Chris Freeman - photo Sean Purser
  • Timpanist Ruari Donaldson - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Viola Alison Hastie - photo Judith Fieldhouse
  • Viola Lev Atlas surrounded by Delphian mics - photo Sean Purser
  • Viola Mary Ward - photo Mikah Smillie
  • Violinist Gemma O'Keeffe - photo Sean_Purser